ASOS, Nordstrom reveal Topshop link-up, explore "wider strategic partnership"
On a big luxury news day (as Phoebe Philo announced plans for her new label), Monday was also a hot news day further down the price scale. That was because ASOS announced that it has formed a North American joint venture with US-based multi-channel retailer, Nordstrom.
As part of this, Nordstrom will “invest for a minority interest in the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands to help drive their growth”.
ASOS acquired those labels only this year as part of the operation that saw the Arcadia fashion empire being broken up, and has so far reported that their relaunch is going well.
But news of the link up with Nordstrom – primarily the fact that the American retailer is actually taking a financial stake in the labels – is a surprise.
The fashion e-tail giant will retain operational and creative control, but will “work with Nordstrom to leverage its US market expertise and extensive customer reach”.
And importantly, ASOS said the JV “paves the way for wider collaboration between the two retailers”. The first step will see “an edit of the best ASOS brands” launching on Nordstrom’s webstore and in selected “high-impact Nordstrom stores”.
That store launch is interesting as it sees ASOS engaging with physical retail after a history of being online-only.
The company added that the JV “will help drive the growth of these brands and paves the way for exploration of a new wider strategic partnership aimed at building greater awareness and engagement in the US and Canadian market”.
It's an interesting move from the British company and perhaps ironic given that Arcadia tried to crack the American market via Topshop for some time, ultimately having to close its stores in the country several years ago.
ASOS said Nordstrom “has an unrivalled physical and digital reach in North America”, operating more than 350 physical stores alongside online platforms that attract almost two billion annual visits. And it “already has a strong history with Topshop, having been the first US retailer to offer the brand to the US market as far back as 2012”.
The British company will keep ultimate control, but will “work with Nordstrom to leverage its US market expertise and extensive customer reach to build an exciting future for these brands in their second biggest market”.
ASOS added that it’s seeking “to leverage our complementary retail models and customer insight... working with Nordstrom to debut as its first-ever retail partner”.
There were few details on future plans, but we do know that as part of the launch in-store and online, ASOS click & collect services will be rolled out across the wider Nordstrom store estate “as the next step in continuing to enhance the ASOS proposition for our US customers”.
The UK firm’s CEO, Nick Beighton, said: “With its long-established connection to Topshop, extensive US consumer insight and unparalleled reach right across North America, Nordstrom is the right partner to help [us] accelerate the growth of our Topshop and ASOS brands in this key market. Partnering with Nordstrom will support our US strategy.”
And the US chain’s President and Chief Brand Officer, Pete Nordstrom, added: “We could not have found a better partner in ASOS, the world leader in fashion for the 20-something customer. We know we can help further amplify the recognition of the already popular Topshop and Topman brands. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with ASOS to reimagine the wholesale/retail partnership and are excited about our potential as we expand our product offering to a broader audience.”
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